On November 24, 2022, the Gdańsk Entrepreneurship Incubator STARTER hosted the first conference dedicated to game localisation in Poland – the Localisation Best Practices Conference, or LBPC. The event’s goal was to present topics related to localisation and show its importance for the gaming industry, as proven by the global success of many Polish games, including The Witcher and Fishing Clash.
The conference was organized by locatheart, a translation agency specializing in localisation and content creation for dozens of markets. One of the company’s core activities is localisation of games – including board, card, mobile and video games. Sharing knowledge about it – as many people have yet to come across that topic – is of particular importance for a translation agency:
Before the official part of the conference, its guests had the opportunity to visit the Crazy Room – furnished and decorated in the style of Alice in Wonderland, it hosted an exhibition of games translated and co-translated by locatheart: Oculus VR games and console games (these enjoyed the biggest popularity), as well as mobile, board and card games. The participants had the occasion to talk with those involved in the process of localisation of the presented games.
Presentation of the games localised by locatheart – which the guests could play – was an exceptionally important item of the agenda. Thanks to that, the participants could see for themselves how important good localisation is. And not only that – during informal chats with linguists and coordinators who carry out our translation projects, they were able to learn more about the complexities of localisation processes and factors that influence them, highlighting the conference’s main idea.
The official part of the conference was divided into two sections – three lectures, by Maja Kosioł from Ten Square Games, Kamila Puzdrowska from locatheart and Wiktoria Paciorek from CD PROJEKT RED, respectively; and a discussion panel with Ewa Dacko from Ten Square Games, Paula Mackiewicz-Armstrong from CD PROJEKT RED and Asia Mleczak from Mana Translation. The panel was led by Szymon Neubauer-Vasquez from locatheart.
Mobile game LQA
During her presentation, Maja Kosioł spoke about the LQA stage of mobile game localisation, how vital it is, and what the potential consequences of skipping it are. She explained how LQA is performed at Ten Square Games and what aspects of it are particularly emphasized. From her speech, we learned about the importance of promoting localisation values and LQA, communication and working on concrete data collected during project preparation.
3 pillars of successful localisation
The next speaker was Kamila Puzdrowska. She briefly explained what localisation actually is and what we need to achieve success. According to Kamila’s presentation, the 3 mysterious pillars are: people, that is, linguists and project coordinators; tools which they use daily; and processes they implement as part of projects. Kamila also told us how translation projects are handled at locatheart, what difficulties they come with, and how to deal with those.
Localising the world of The Witcher and Cyberpunk – how it’s done at CD PROJEKT RED
Wiktoria Paciorek told us about the localisation process at CD PROJEKT RED, with particular emphasis on games such as The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077. She also presented different language versions of songs from these hits, demonstrating the artistic value of localisation and linguists’ contribution to the sharing of emotions. Finally, she noted that while not everyone attaches significance to localisation, positive reactions of players are paramount for the creative process and provide motivation for further work.
Localisation in game development and distribution
As the panel’s name suggests, the participants talked about localisation and its role in game development and distribution. They mentioned the most interesting and amusing anecdotes relating to translation of different content into new languages and shared some details about their respective companies’ processes. Guests gathered in the conference hall learned what the vital elements of the localisation process are and what should be paid attention to during project realization. At the panel conclusion, both the participants and online viewers could ask the speakers questions.
Without a doubt, the conference was a success and achieved its main goal – it shed light on the issue of localisation and its different aspects. All co-creators of the program pointed out how crucial – indispensable, even – localisation is and warned of scenarios that can come true if it’s skipped or done at the last minute.
That’s because localisation is important not only in the context of game development but also gamers’ reception of a product. If localisation is solid, it pays off in terms of players’ positive emotions connected with gaming. When preparing different language versions of games, it is worth paying attention to the way in which cultural differences between markets can impact a game’s reception, as well as to what could be modified in order to include local flavors. Such Easter eggs are one of the biggest factors influencing people’s opinion of a game.
Photos: Ciszek Photo